The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 2


III. Danish Beck and Teisen-Champions of Conditionalism

We also call to the witness stand two well-known Danish theologians, the Lutheran clergyman VILHELM BECK and Prof. N. TEISEN, a few years prior, who deal with two aspects of Conditionalism. Thus far we have not touched upon Scandinavian writers. Let us go back then, for a moment, to two voices in Denmark to introduce this geographical witness. CFF2 757.1


Pastor Beck, as quoted in Et Ord i rette Tid, by J. C. Raft, testifies to his belief in the unconscious state of the dead-that is, that in death man sleeps unconsciously until the resurrection, with the contrary traditional view held to be “unknown to the Holy Scriptures” and merely “founded on human inventions.” Here is Beck’s explicit statement in a lecture at Randers: CFF2 757.2

“The condition between death and the resurrection is, as I understand the Scriptures, a quiet night, where the believing person is a sleeping person until the resurrection. A conscious state between death and the resurrection, a conscious human life with growth and development, with conversion and apostasy, is unknown to the Holy Scriptures, and they tell us nothing about it, and all that is held and taught concerning it, as far as I understand, is founded on human inventions, discovery of a land and a human life, which had not been discovered when the Holy Scriptures were written.” 19 CFF2 757.3

That was Beck’s view. Moreover, the theory of consciousness in the “intermediate state” is, he adds, found neither in “Luther’s Catechism nor in the Augsburg Confession.” On the contrary CFF2 757.4

“it is rationalism in its various forms that has brought this doctrine into the church, and which always has united itself with selfishness, at times in a coarse materialistic form, and at times in a fine spiritual form.... The doctrine of the Lutheran Church knows nothing about such an intermediate state. There is not one word about it in Luther’s Catechism nor in the Augsburg Confession.” 20 CFF2 758.1


And Prof. N. Teisen, likewise of Denmark, commenting on the Parable of the Tares and the Wheat (Matthew 13:30), declares that the wicked are to be utterly “consumed,” not endlessly tormented. Here is his declaration: CFF2 758.2

“Anyone who has a slight knowledge of Greek knows that the Greek verb here used means to burn up (to be consumed), which is given correctly in the Danish Bible translation-opbraende. But how ‘to burn up’ can mean to suffer endless torment, will be inconceivable for any expositor who holds to the [true] meaning of words. That anything can be said to burn up which burns throughout all eternity without being consumed, that is to unite the incompatible and to make ‘No’ out of ‘Yes’.” 21 CFF2 758.3

Commenting on Hebrews 12:29(“For our God is a consuming fire”), Teisen further states emphatically:
“By this the author wishes to say, that if God in the days of the old covenant (cf. Deuteronomy 4:24) was a consuming fire, He is that no less under the new covenant, and the expression-katanalisko-is the strongest word the Greek language can use to indicate a complete annihilation. The verb analisko means, as we already have seen, consume, annihilate; the added preposition strengthens the idea that the word conveys, so that the meaning will be: Annihilation from the foundation, from top to bottom.” 22
CFF2 758.4

Professor Teisen also observes that it would be most highly “improbable” for Christ and the apostles to be in conflict with the uniform teaching of “death and destruction” for the wicked as “taught throughout the Old Testament.” Christ did not bring “a new doctrine into the world” 23 on the destiny of man. That is the record of Teisen’s view. CFF2 758.5

Picture 1: F.S.M. Bennett, Dr. E. J. Ekman, Walter R. Matthews
Left: F. S. M. Bennett, Anglican Dean of chester—innatism has no rightful part in Christianity. Center: Dr. E. J. Ekman, Swedish Clergyman—victims of hell-fire finally cease to be. Right: Walter R. Matthews, Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London—destruction the result of wrong choice.
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